Thursday, June 05, 2008

Keynote Day 2

Welcome - Brigadier Gen Sanford Holman (Skip)

The Mashup of Virtual Worlds and Learning - Henry Kelly, President, Federation of American Scientists


Brigadier General Sanford Holman

He really loved this conference (good to hear).

Joint Knowledge Online Capability (JKO)
- Ability to deliver joint training across the branches during real world operations.
- 5 regional, 4 functional.
- Mission-ready, joint-capable forces
- Support interagency and multi-national forces
- Coordinate overall military training efforts.

Reserve and Active + International components
- Time, cultural, language constraints

Host 2 of 3 capabilities
- Part of training transformation initiative
- Train as operate.
- JKO portal for courseware

Most important to them - user appreciates value.

With JKO - help people prepare in advance for their operations.

1st year - 58,000 unique users in 1st year. Over 69,000 course completions (as of last week).
- Launched with a bunch of courses.

3 networks for access
- Military unclassified
- Military classified
- Internet - used off-site, Iraq

Tailored LMS and CMS and customized to particular network depending on network security. So Classified network has different information than Internet.

Also links to DoD information systems so DoD can position people appropriately.

Found old way inefficient (had to go to a central location at particular times).
- Finding new way results in more prepared personel at time of need (e.g. disaster response).

Operational aspects
- Training vital to regional commanders and combatants
- Depending on the theatre, have certain mandatory training pre-deployment
- When you travel overseas - serve as a information source.
- Enhancing training for reservists - prepare them for assignments. Reduced time for training.
- Can also make the information more specific to the operation. Going from general training to more contextual. Helping a lot in terms of practical application.

Big difference residential to online. Get only 8 for residential, 20 online.

Also developed introduction to the site - helped Reservists new to the Task Force.
- Training before arrival at exercise.

Can est. collaborative relationships with other agencies (such as State - esp. Foreign Service institute).

JKO - 21st C. Best Practices award.

Distance learning becoming impt. joint training venue. Going to advance across DoD.
- Good training impt for National Security efforts.

Moving towards more games and leveraging Web 2.0.

The big goal - one less funeral.


Dr. Henry Kelly - The Mashup of Virtual Worlds and Learning

What we do is transformative - changes the way we teach and ultimately change the structure of the institutions.

The Challenge
- Increase in what must be learned - for everyone
- Increase in the number and diversity of people needing to learn
- Highly constrained resources


Higher order skills now more important
- Complex communication
- Expert thinking

Why Can IT Change the Rules?
- Personal - huge market for highly personalized services. But business generally NOT structured to accomodate this. Education has to change esp. Business becoming more centralized.

- Active
- It Makes
- Permits novel collaboration
- Implements continuous process improvement
- Create surrogate markets

3D Revolution
- Way knowledge and expertise measured
- Way learning systems created
- Where learning delivered

Revolution #1 - Way knowledge and expertise measured
- Authentic challenges.
- Problem-centered learning
- Continuous assessment of expertise
+ Varied and contrasting examples
+ Demonstration
+ Opportunities for practice
- Context sensitive answers - you want help there and then
- Reflection
- Feedback
- Assessment
- Skills refreshment

The methods proposed too expensive to implement (esp. in current structure.)

Game features attractive
- Authentic motivating challenges motivates time on task
- Personalization - Challenge has to mean something to the person.
- Continuous assessment (right to fail)
- Contextual bridging closes gap between learning and use.
- Scaffolding provides cues, hints to keep learner progressing

Good games keep you in flow. Challenge slightly out of grasp.

- Measures of expertise that can form the basis of competitive approaches
- Measures authentic to learners/employers/instructors
- Continous, multi-dimentional assessment.

Drive to performance-based testing. (DoD as example)

Average person mastered skill in 1/2 the time when they know they are going to use it immediately.
- The ones who mastered best in use did lowest in standardized testing.

Game example 1 - Immune Attach Objectives
Game example 2 - Discover Babylon

Revolution #2 - A revolution in the way learning systems are created.

There are tools in other fields which have solved our problems for smaller markets.

Education is a big enterprise behaving like a cottage industry.

Example - World of Warcraft, Second Life
- Commercial solutions aimed at social networking.
- Proof of concept and tools potent
- Problem - about 100 different standards for these virtual worlds.
- # of people in the worlds extraordinary. Even more important - # of people taking time BUILDING in these worlds. eg. 2nd life - over 100 terabytes of date created by the "residents" (5x the Library of Congress)

If can do this for an artificial world, why can't we do this in the real world adapted to learning>

- Open to all contribution model
- Annotations
- Intelligent and autonomous agents.
- Interactive spoken dialog
- Reusable data and metadata
- Common architecture for multiple worlds

Use Cases
- Creating and publishing objects - authentic environments.
- Creating activities and experiences - and want this to persist!
- Sharing and using the designed experiences - with peer-reviewed quality control. But all levels can use and manipulate and experience.
- Satisfying end users - do they feel empowered?

Function of middleware (I hope that the slides are available...)
- Tie together tools that exist in open source and make them work for us.
- Function 1 - Production team that builds the objects
- Function 2 - User community (Instructor/Team Leader and the rest of the team)

Lower the barrier for participation!
- How can we find ways to link SMEs with the folks with the Technical skills?

Functional requirements for creating and continuously improving worlds
- Project management tools
- ID team leaders, contributors, reviewers
- Scheduling and notification
- Version control
- Design tools
- Storing and rating tools
- ID Students and instructors and guides
(Again - I wish I had the slides)

All of this either open source tools or people process considerations.
Revolution #3 - A revolution in the places where learning delivered.

Content + Services = Presentation

Want to eventually build a system that floats above the "platform wars".

Key - Database Management.
- Object management w/ behaviors, metadata, IP management
- Identity management (of users)
- Records management (profiles, ratings, feedback, data for research and continuous improvement)

Toughest thing to capture - AI scripts.

Steal (Borrow) - don't invent.

API Interfaces
- Tools for voice and chat exist as standardized pluging.
- PandoraBot (open source)
- CAD tools
- Physica engines
- Pre-existing simulations
- Event scripting the hardest part - game level design and assignments. Sadly all in proprietary formats.

FAS Virtual World project

Have sign-ins to get people to join and participate.
- Make it simple to add things (pictures, links, etc)
- They can modify the item to make it more accurate

Goal - a new kind of academic publication. Upgrade the visual representation + update the literature.

Technical Challenges
- High latency - much still server based, therefore slower. But if put on client side, can't share the changes.
- 3rd party plugins both server and client
- Code behind the data structures and Cache
- Modular architecture

The tech challenges will be largely dealt with commercially

Our challenge - build something open and leverage commercial work.
- We don't have a collaborative community that can adapt yet.

Institutional challenges
- open source? Intellectual property
- Privacy management
- Management of cash assetts
- Management of abusive behavior
- Access
- Security

Solutions should be generic

How do you pay for it?
- How do people make money?
- Who owns what?
- How much do you need?

How do you manage change in the educational institution?

Thinks that there are a number of people happy to do stuff voluntarily because of love and thrill of publication.

No institutions in place to manage this process.
- This is truly transformational technology
- How acquire information
- Role change - instructors, students, SMEs

People who figure out how to manage change will win.

New world - can still have cottage industry but now connected.

How do we build that network?
- Agree on open tools for collaboration (build communities of practice)
- Build new publication model in key fields.
- Identify performance-based metrics
- Find institutions willing to participate in structural way in new learning management strategies
- Support research and development enterprise to ensure continuous improvement.

Federation of American Scientists trying to get feds to participate.

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